Archive | May, 2012

Old Fashioned Savings

31 May

Want another reason to use a cash budget?

A change jar!

{© Go Our Own Way}

I’m not gonna lie.  On a bad day, I can cheer up just by emptying my wallet and hearing the jingle of coins as I add them to our “jar” {it’s actually a vase}.  Seeing it collect over time is oddly rewarding.  Since we use cash daily, we’re always carrying around change, so having this jar to empty our pockets into is necessary.

And it’s an inadvertent way Andrew and I are saving up our money!  Change adds up fast…way faster then you think it will.  We have no idea what we’re going to use our change jar for {downpayment, vacation, furniture–who knows!}, but it’s certainly fun.

{© Go Our Own Way}

Any guesses as to how much our change jar currently is worth?  Does anyone else have a change jar they use?

All About The Money

30 May

Since A & I are in the midst saving for the biggest purchase of our adult lives, I thought I’d share the biggest piece of advice I could give to anyone else in the same boat.

Two words: cash budget.

Now you might be asking yourself, who the heck uses cash anymore??  To a lot of people, cash is archaic.  It’s something you grudgingly withdraw from the ATM when you see the dreaded “cash only” sign at a nail salon or bar.  You have your debit and/or credit card, and you’re able to put some money into savings each month.  How will carrying around cash help?

The system that Andrew and I live with is so simple that anyone can do it.  Here are the steps we follow:

  1. At the beginning of each week {Mondays for us}, we each withdraw from the ATM our own personal cash budget for the week.
  2. During the next 7 days, that is the money we use for any personal expenses, such as eating out, happy hour, shopping, movies, etc.  Basically any expense that isn’t rent, utilities, groceries, or gas.
  3. Repeat weekly.

The process is that simple.  But the rewards are AMAZING.  Here’s what we love about having a cash budget:

  • Availability.  It’s easy to pay a friend for your portion of something, or to not have to track down an ATM for those inevitable “cash only” scenarios.
  • Limited budget.  When I was using a debit card regularly, I can’t tell you how many times I would try to stick to a budget, but then I’d pull out my debit card and think, “Well the money is there, going over a little won’t hurt”.  But even a little cheating can add up over time, and at the end of the month I’d realize that I spent way more then I meant to.  Now I don’t worry about that.  I can spend what’s in the my wallet…and that’s it.  Nothing more.  It’s guilt-free spending because the money that I’m spending is meant for me to spend, and I’m not spending anything beyond that.
  • Personal spending.  Marriage is great.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  But all people need a little personal space, and it’s no different when it comes to money.  My weekly cash is my money.  I get to spend mine in whatever way I want, and Andrew gets to do the same.  We’re working together within the same budget, towards the same goal, but both of us have the freedom to do whatever we want with our weekly money.
  • Delayed gratification.  I’m the first to admit it: I’m an impulse buyer.  If I see something I want {no, need!}, then I want/need it immediately.  But if it’s on the spendy side, perhaps over my weekly budget, then I can’t get it right away.  Instead, I need to set aside money from each weekly cash withdrawl until I have enough to buy it.  Which leads us to two different outcomes: 1) I save and save and save, and then when I finally buy the object of my obsession, I love love love it; 2) I figure out that I don’t want/need it that badly, and therefore never spend money on something I wouldn’t have loved anyway.  It’s a win win.
  • Cuts out mindless spending.  When you’re using a debit card, you’re removed from the act of spending your money.  You simply give the cashier a piece of plastic, and it magically pays for whatever you’re buying.  But when you have to go through the act of counting out 5, 10, or 20 dollar bills…you become attached to them.  You almost don’t want to hand them over to the cashier.  Handling cash makes you much more consious of what you’re spending your money on, and if you really need it.

Try a cash budget for one week.  Pick a reasonable amount of money that you think will get you through a week.  Maybe it’s $100, or $140, or $80 (I like to pick amounts that are divisible by 20, since that’s usually the only bill ATM’s dispense).  Try to use only cash for the week, and see how it goes!  I’d love hear your stories!

{05.25.12} Pinterest Pursuits

25 May

Here are 3 pins that will take you to a happy place as you head into your 3-day weekend.

{via Pinterest, originally from Emily A. Clark}

Closet decor: frame your most memorable shopping bags.  I don’t know why I never thought of this! {besides never having a closet to actually decorate before}  This makes all the sense in the world, and I can’t wait to do it someday.  I also can’t wait to someday have a shopping bag from CHANEL.

{via Pinterest, originally from Diddle Dumpling}

Paint a rug: why not.  If it turns out as good as the picture looks, then I say go for it.  Especially when it’s an Ikea rug.  Nothing to lose!

{via Pinterest, originally from Better Homes & Gardens}

Potato salad: everyone must enjoy potato salad this weekend, being that it’s Memorial Day and the official kick-off to the BBQ season!  Try this recipe out, it looks delish.

Cheers!

What We’re Looking For

24 May

Today I was asked, “What are you looking for in a house?”  That’s an interesting question for a couple reasons…

Biggest reason being that we’re not even actively looking for a house.  Believe me, when we start “actively looking”, I’m going to take house hunting to a whole new level.  My current daily browsing of Redfin will seem like childs play.

Another reason I hesitate to qualify what we’re looking for is because it might change over the next year.  So what would be perfect now might not be perfect a year from now.  However, that is the conundrum of any home buyer, I suppose.

And of course I don’t want to jinx our house hunt 🙂  Talking too much about it before we actually get started seems overzealous and premature.  But that’s what this blog is all about, so with a little encouragement I’m getting over it!

Andrew and I both have a general sense of what we want in a future home.  There are specific items on our individual wish lists that may or may not be reasonable (can you say “dressing room for Brittney?”), but overall we’re on the same page.

{Brittney’s dream closet}
{via Pinterest, originally from Decor Pad}

When we start looking, we’ll be hoping to find a house with the following:

  • Within our current zip code in SW Portland
  • Out-of-sight of any and all double yellow line roads (location, location, location!)
  • At least 1,500 square feet

{via Pinterest, originally from Houzz}

  • 3 bedrooms, 2 baths

{via Pinterest, originally from West Elm}

  • Private-ish backyard

{via Pinterest, originally from Better Homes & Gardens}

  • Walking distance to a park

That pretty much sums up our wishlist.  It’s short on purpose, because Andrew and I don’t want to rule out minor fixer uppers, or houses that need cosmetic help.

So when the time comes, that’s what we’ll be looking for, folks!

Pinterest Pursuits

18 May

With the weekend a head of me, I’m looking forward to all the fun things I want to do this weekend!  Happy hour, running, lounging, reading, hanging with the hubby, catching a movie, and tons of other weekend-y type things come to mind.  Personally, nothing says weekend like a project, though!  But in our rental, project options are somewhat limited for me.  Which brings me to Pinterest.

When my friend {and blogger!} Megan invited me to Pinterest back in October, I hardly knew what I was getting myself into.  I’m sure everyone says that now, since it’s hard to image life without the digital pin boards I’ve carefully curated over the past 6 months.  If only it had been a phenomenon during my wedding planning process…*sigh*.  Pinterest allows me to dream big, and keep track of all the inspiration I find.  Basically, I’m able to live vicariously through others.

So today I’d like to start a weekly Friday segment called Pinterest Pursuits.  These are the projects I’m most excited to share, whether or not they’re actually going to happen anytime soon.  My hope is that someday I’ll be able to just DO.  But until then, they shall live in Pinterest World, and be ogled here on GOOW.

{via Pinterest, originally from Decor Hacks}

Nailhead makeover: talk about creative.  This particular piece was really really dated, and they totally jazzed it up.  Plus it was cheap and easy!

{via Pinterest, originally from Bower Power}

Pallet wall: how.freaking.cool.  This accent wall was originally made for a boy nursery, but I think it’d be really cool for a basement someday, or a man cave.   People are always giving away pallets on Craigslist, so this could be pretty inexpensive.  I want to do this sooo badly!

{via Pinterest, originally from Pitter & Glink}

Food stand: any project that can be completed by using products from the Dollar Stores sounds good to me {more money for the stuff that matters, like shoes}.  This project basically requires a hot glue gun, which I have.  With some party hosting coming up this summer, I see these in my future.  Perhaps even this weekend?

Those are the projects that are currently on my mind as I head into the weekend.  Any projects planned that you’re hoping to complete this weekend?  Big or small?  Rental friendly for major reno?  Whatever you’re doing, enjoy!

Happy Friday!  Cheers!

The First Rental Friendly Project!

14 May

Finally this project is checked-off my list!  Although the before-and-after pictures aren’t stupendous, I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now.  And now that it’s done, I feel better about life.

When it comes to Rental Friendly Projects (RFP’s), my number one concern is that they don’t leave any marks behind.  It has to be removable, and leave the space the way you found it.  Which is why I love tension rods {or spring rods}.  If you’ve never used one, you’ve been missing out on a tool that can make a huge impact in any space.  Spring rods are a lot like shower curtain rods, except designed for windows and curtains.  They’re cheap, removeable and reusable, and super easy to use.  All good things!

Anywhoo…my weekend project was to fix the window situation over our bed.  If this were our house I’d customize the curtains to frame the window, and to be able to open and close them.  However, I hate to customize our perfectly-matched-to-our-bedspread curtains for a rental.  I want to “save” them for a permanent master bedroom someday.  So until then, we’ve hung them over the window as a kind of headboard.  It works.  That’s not the issue.

Image

{© Go Our Own Way}

The issue is the ugliness that lurks behind it.

Image

{© Go Our Own Way}

We {literally} tacked up this extra blanket when we moved-in to keep out the light in the morning.  Andrew & I truly truly love natural light, and like I said above, if we could customize our curtains to actually make this window usable, we would.  But since we don’t want to do that, we go to the other extreme and block it out completely, since we very much appreciate a darkened room on the weekends when we “sleep in” {9 am is the latest Andrew will let me snooze!}.

My goal for awhile now has been to replace the ugly red blanket with a “blackout” curtain that Andrew had laying around from his college room.  It’s exactly what it sounds like: a double-backed black curtain that keeps every little ray of sunshine out of a room.  But I didn’t want to use our tack method this time around, since it’s truly hideous when little snippets of red blanket peek out from behind the curtains.  This time I wanted to do it right.  And that’s where the spring rod comes in.

I picked one up at Target for $9, and fitted it to the window.  Then I took the blackout curtain, and just draped it over the rod.  Draping = no sewing needed {especially since nobody is even going to see it}.  Once the curtain was folded over the rod, I just pushed the rod up to the top of the window as far as it would go, to help secure the fabric and close any gaps.  Here’s what we ended up with:

Image

{© Go Our Own Way}

See how the curtain now fits within the confines of the window molding?  Finally!!!

Image

{© Go Our Own Way}

Image

{© Go Our Own Way}

The before and after pictures aren’t too exciting, but it makes one less thing that annoys me!  Hallelujah 🙂

Has anyone else ever used tension rods to hang curtains?  Or for any other projects?  Any uses for them that I don’t know about?

Highlight Of My Weekend

12 May

Here’s a quick hair update!

Hair

My wonderful stylist encouraged me to take the color change slow, so yesterday we added golden-blonde highlights to my hair.  In a few weeks, we’ll kick it up a notch and add “real”-blonde highlights to really switch-up the color.  FUN!  There’s just something about being blonde during the summer that does it for me.

Enjoy your weekend!  I’ll be back on Monday with my very first RFP! {Rental Friendly Project}

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